Overall, we are each about as stressed out as we were ten years ago.
I call this stress homeostasis. Our general stress levels, and inversely our satisfaction levels, vary about a baseline that stays more or less consistent (without deep work on the self).
If you think about it (or are foresighted enough to keep a personal journal), the individual stressors of people, places, and instances come and go, but at the core we hover around a baseline level of stress. In school it may have been the big test coming up and at work it could be the big project our boss reminds us is super important, but these are just the superficial. Once that particular thing is over the next stressor swoops in to occupy our worriment.
We will tend to justify why THIS time our stress is REALLY rational. After all, we are older and have more serious responsibilities. “I may have been stressed and depressed and anxious in high school but now I’m an adult so this version of despair is deserved. This time it is justified.”
But it’s actually stress homeostasis. We graduated from high school stress into adult stress. The things we point to to explain ourstress have changed but underneath it is the essentially the same anxieties.
With consistent awareness, practicing gratitude, and working to expand our perspectives, I think we can shift our baselines towards a less-stressful place. Gradually.
Be happy today because tomorrow you’ll justify your new stress as legitimate and today’s worries as foolish.